About Us

The Centre for Cancer Epidemiology at the Tata Memorial Centre established the Unit for Strengthening Cause of Death Data (USCOD) on the 6 th of August 2021. The unit supports, promotes, and advocates for best practices in cause of death quality in civil registration and vital statistics in India and the Asia Pacific region.

Vision and Mission


  • Develops resources on cause of death improvement activities, following World Health Organization and United Nations Statistics Divisions standards.
  • Builds capacity in cause of death improvement activities in Indian government and non-governmental agencies in cause of death activities, such as medical certification of cause of death, mortality coding (ICD 10 and ICD 11), implementation of Iris, production of vital statistics reports, etc.
  • Facilitates improvement in cause of death quality standards through advocacy efforts

The aim is for the Unit to be a reliable and excellent resource for cause of death activities, including capacity building in mortality coding (ICD-10 and ICD-11), providing support for coding systems establishment, training of doctors in MCCD, and training of analysts and program managers in vital statistics and production of analytical reports.


Dr. Rajesh Dikshit

Director - Dr. Rajesh Dikshit

Dr. Dikshit is an Epidemiologist working in the area of cancer for over three decades, with expertise and experience in cancer epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, surveillance and cancer registries.

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Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi

Deputy Director - Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi

Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi is Head Neck Cancer Surgeon and Deputy Director of Center for Cancer Epidemiology at Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai. He has been invited as visiting faculty in 44 institutions in 32 countries. He is the editor of the Textbook of Head and Neck Surgery and the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Head and Neck surgery.

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What the leaders have to say ?

Shri Vivek Joshi, IAS, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India

I am pleased to know that the Tata Memorial Centre, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India is creating a resource centre for strengthening Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD) in India. Considering the cause of death is a very important health indicator for the country.

Creation of such resource centres will go a long way in strengthening the civil registration and vital statistics systems by providing technical assistance to hospitals, health departments, program managers, doctors, coding teams, etc. Accurate data regarding Medical Certification of Cause of Death will be beneficial for public health researchers, health departments and policy makers

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Dr Rajendra Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre

This is a commendable effort to train the doctors certifying deaths on the importance of and the right method to complete Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD) forms. I am very optimistic that this will improve doctors’ understanding and skill, which will in-turn improve the quality of cause of death data for decision making

Dr Avinash Supe, Clinical Governance and Head, P D Hinduja Hospital and USCOD National Advisory Committee Member

I would like to thank Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi and Dr Rajesh Dikshit along with the team of USCOD for inviting me to be a part of the National Advisory Committee. At the outset I want to congratulate them for celebrating their first year as a unit and it is such a big achievement with how far the team has come with its efforts.

During our medical career as doctors and specialists we all are very focused with disease management, surgery and techniques, but there is one more job that we need to do which is give back to the system we are working in. One of the ways we can give back to the system by accurately medically certifying deaths. It is very rightly said that the death data is filled by the youngest person and utilized by the highest in the hierarchy of healthcare systems. Since many years I am also engaged with building policies for the nation on medical and education grounds and I have realized that there is a paucity of the data and this has made me wonder how we can really bring about a change. India has shown remarkable project in terms of death registration but the challenge is improving the quality of MCCD. The way forward that I see is by training all the doctors in the country who are eligible to certify a death. This is a huge number indeed and it is a huge task ahead of us. The work has begun, initially with the collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. But, USCOD is the centre that has provided the country a wonderful platform and has done so in a very systematic well-organized manner. The unit is now also trying to include the training for MCCD into the medical interns’ curriculum which is a fantastic step. Once again congratulations to the entire team!

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